On Friday afternoon, I put myself through another fun, but stressful period of draft chaos, executing three mock drafts at the same time (12 teams/PPR scoring) — while holding the No. 11 pick in each drill.






HURRY UP AND PICK! Results of three simultaneous mocks (No. 11 slot)
PRESSURE PACKED: Results of three simultaneous mocks (No. 8 slot)
HURRY UP AND PICK! Results of three simultaneous mocks (No. 4 slot)
SLEEPER CELLS: 13 mid-to-late round targets to covet with PPR leagues
FANTASY: 4 ways to invoke the risky ‘Bye Week’ draft strategy
FANTASY: How to fake your way through an uncomfortably early draft
DEEP DIVE: Fun Facts-style breakdown of the 2020 schedule
TWO OF EVERYTHING: Cool results from our ‘Noah’s Ark’ mock draft
FREE MONEY: Our second crack at NFL ‘Survivor Pool’ picks for 2020
READY, SET, GO: The NFL’s 30 most anticipated matchups of the season

Adding to the cool absurdity of this intense exercise, we then stepped up the degree of difficulty with the following limitations:

a) I wouldn’t be allowed to peruse my updated cheat sheet during the draft … not that there’s much time for it anyway.

b) I wasn’t permitted to ‘queue’ up any players in advance. The reasoning: Amid this brain-rattling torrent of being on the clock multiple times inside 30 seconds … Pressure makes diamonds.

c) I followed the self-imposed mandate to draft only running backs in the first two rounds … even if the likes of Michael Thomas, Chris Godwin, Davante Adams, DeAndre Hopkins or Travis Kelce were still there for the taking — at value.

Here are the results from the three simultaneous mocks. For the first-timers attempting this crazy exercise at home, expect an avalanche of under-the-gun choices and permutations after Round 2, with only 45 seconds between each selection:


ROUND 1 — RB Josh Jacobs, Raiders
ROUND 2 — RB Miles Sanders, Eagles
ROUND 3 — WR A.J. Brown, Titans
ROUND 4 — WR Cooper Kupp, Rams
ROUND 5 — RB David Montgomery, Bears
ROUND 6 — RB Raheem Mostert, 49ers
ROUND 7 — WR Marvin Jones, Lions
ROUND 8 — WR Diontae Johnson, Steelers
ROUND 9 — QB Matthew Stafford, Lions
ROUND 10 — QB Josh Allen, Bills
ROUND 11 — WR Jerry Jeudy, Broncos
ROUND 12 — D/ST Pittsburgh Steelers
ROUND 13 — TE Jared Cook, Saints
ROUND 14 — RB Sony Michel, Patriots
ROUND 15 — PK Wil Lutz, Saints
ROUND 16 — TE Mike Gesicki, Dolphins


ROUND 1 — RB Josh Jacobs, Raiders
ROUND 2 — RB Kenyan Drake, Cardinals
ROUND 3 — WR A.J. Brown, Titans
ROUND 4 — WR Cooper Kupp, Rams
ROUND 5 — WR DK Metcalf, Seahawks
ROUND 6 — RB D’Andre Swift, Lions
ROUND 7 — WR Marvin Jones, Lions
ROUND 8 — TE Tyler Higbee, Rams
ROUND 9 — QB Matthew Stafford, Lions
ROUND 10 — WR Jerry Jeudy, Broncos
ROUND 11 — TE Noah Fant, Broncos
ROUND 12 — D/ST Buffalo Bills
ROUND 13 — RB Chase Edmonds, Cardinals
ROUND 14 — RB Sony Michel, Patriots
ROUND 15 — PK Wil Lutz, Saints
ROUND 16 — QB Teddy Bridgewater, Panthers


ROUND 1 — RB Miles Sanders, Eagles
ROUND 2 — RB Austin Ekeler, Chargers
ROUND 3 — WR A.J. Brown, Titans
ROUND 4 — WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, Steelers
ROUND 5 — RB Raheem Mostert, 49ers
ROUND 6 — RB Cam Akers, Rams
ROUND 7 — TE Tyler Higbee, Rams
ROUND 8 — RB James White, Patriots
ROUND 9 — WR John Brown, Bills
ROUND 10 — QB Josh Allen, Bills
ROUND 11 — TE T.J. Hockenson, Lions
ROUND 12 — WR Breshad Perriman, Jets
ROUND 13 — QB Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers
ROUND 14 — PK Harrison Butker, Chiefs
ROUND 15 — D/ST Seattle Seahawks
ROUND 16 — WR Laviska Shenault, Jaguars


All three drafts share a common thread: None of the selected teams feature a pairing of my QB1 (Matthew Stafford or Josh Allen) … and the No. 1 receiver, No. 2 receiver or No. 1 tight end.

That’s a strange occurrence, considering I’m a strong proponent of ‘double-dipping’ points in PPR leagues.

Was that my plan, entering Friday’s exercise? Absolutely not.

We merely adjusted to the opportunity of thrice snagging A.J. Brown (BATSBY Sports’ No. 12 PPR wideout) in Round 3, and then choosing between Cooper Kupp (No. 14 PPR wideout) and JuJu Smith-Schuster (No. 15) at each turn of Round 4.

For those with short memories, in 2019, Kupp finished second in touchdowns (10), seventh in catches (94), 11th in targets (134) and 11th in receiving yards among wide receivers (1,161).

Plus, Kupp was the only NFL wideout to score at least one touchdown for Weeks 13-17 last season.

And yet, Kupp was there for the taking around pick 40 each time on Friday. Weird.

Last summer, I took social-media flak for minimizing Josh Jacobs’ Year 1 potential with the Raiders, believing his Alabama teammate Damien Harris might have been placed into a better backfield situation (Patriots).

In hindsight, that was an incredibly stupid declaration on my part, a mistake that won’t be repeated in 2020.

In just 13 games last year, Jacobs rolled for 1,316 total yards (1,150 rushing) and seven touchdowns; and if we extrapolate these rock-solid numbers, it converts to a 16-game campaign of 1,526 total yards and eight scores.

Here’s another slice of fantasy goodness: According to Pro Football Reference, Jacobs missed three games … and still earned top-10 marks (among tailbacks) with red-zone rushing attempts (8th), red-zone rushing yards (5th) and red-zone rushing scores (10th).

Kenyan Drake destroyed the Cardinals depth chart last year (in a good way), after the mid-season trade from Miami, averaging 102 total yards and one touchdown in his final eight outings with Arizona.

Does that make Drake a coveted pick at the top of Round 2? On the surface, perhaps not.

So, what put the Alabama product ahead of pack of Tier 2 tailbacks?

Three items stand out:

a) In the Cardinals’ final three games, Drake exploded for 413 total yards and seven touchdowns.

b) Charting his brief time with Arizona, Drake notched four or more receiving targets six times; and during this eight-game span, the speedster produced a sterling catch-to-target rate of 80 percent.

c) The Cardinals averaged 24 points after trading for Drake; and that figure should incur another bump forward in 2020, with the maturation of quarterback Kyler Murray (4,166 total yards, 24 TDs as a rookie) and addition of blue-chip wideout DeAndre Hopkins (averaged 105 catches, 162 targets, 1,371 yards, 10.3 TDs with Houston from 2017-19).

Does Titans wideout A.J. Brown (52 catches, 84 targets, 1,051 yards, 8 TDs last year) warrant WR1 status in 12-team PPR leagues?

It’s certainly a legitimate question for a guy who cobbled together just one outing of double-digit targets and two games of six-plus catches season (rookie campaign).

But here’s where things look rosy: For his final six regular-season outings in Year 1, Brown cracked the 100-yard mark four times and recorded five touchdowns.

What’s more, the Ole Miss product enjoyed an all-world catch-to-target rate of 86 percent during this stretch.

If given the choice, I’d bet on Team C possessing the greatest championship odds in a highly competitive 12-team league. Here’s why:

****Both quarterbacks (Josh Allen, Ben Roethlisberger) are paired with prominent teammates at receiver (John Brown, JuJu Smith-Schuster).

*****Tailbacks Miles Sanders and Austin Ekeler should be easy bets for 1,500-plus total yards and/or double-digit touchdowns, the result of having so-so competition within their own backfields.

****I’m very optimistic about Team C’s rookie duo — Rams tailback Cam Akers (replacing Todd Gurley as the No. 1 back) and Jaguars wideout Laviska Shenault, who’s apparently drawing rave reviews in Jacksonville … despite the lack of preseason competition.

****New Jets receiver Breshad Perriman undoubtedly carried a number of fantasy teams to the semifinal and championship rounds last season (then with the Buccaneers), thanks to a spectacular finishing kick which yielded per-game averages of five catches, 7.4 targets, 121 yards and one touchdown (Weeks 13-17).

It’s pretty easy to justify Austin Ekeler as a top-10 tailback this preseason.

Among his position mates last year, Ekeler finished second in catches (92), second in targets (108), seventh in scrimmage yards (1,550) and eighth in total touchdowns (11); and keep in mind, the Western State product was in a time-share situation with Melvin Gordon during the second half of the season.

Last year, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford was on pace for 4,998 yards passing and 38 touchdowns … before going down with a serious-but-not-surgery-worthy back ailment.

Here are two other nuggets worth celebrating:

****The schedule-makers have apparently been very kind, with Detroit drawing the vulnerable pass defenses from the AFC South (Texans, Colts, Jaguars) and NFC South (Bucs, Falcons, Saints).

****In 2019, Stafford posted the third-highest average of fantasy points among quarterbacks (25.9 per game).

Patriots tailback Sony Michel Michel (foot injury) finally got removed from the dreaded PUP list earlier in the week.

Otherwise, the University of Georgia product might have been a strong candidate for Rounds 5-7.

****For his brief time in the NFL, Michel has quickly emerged as a reasonable lock for 975 total yards and seven touchdowns; and don’t forget, he found the end zone six times during the Patriots’ championship run in the 2018 playoffs.

****Check this out: Charting his 14 career outings of 18-plus touches, Michel has cracked the threshold of 100 total yards and/or one touchdown 11 times; and for these targeted outings, the third-year back enjoyed rock-solid averages of 97 total yards and 0.8 TDs.

Bottom line: Michel would be an absolute heist for Rounds 13-16. Regardless of scoring rules.

Of the five games in which Steelers wideout Diontae Johnson (59 catches, 680 yards, 5 TDs) found the end zone last year, the rookie stealthily averaged 5.6 catches, 7.2 targets, 71 yards and one touchdown.

It’s also worth noting: None of the five strong outings included Ben Roethlisberger as the Steelers’ starting quarterback.

****Johnson collected six-plus targets 10 different times last season.

****Regarding their respective Year 2 seasons with the Steelers (2011 and 2018), Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster owned stellar averages of 90 catches, 1,272 yards and 4.5 touchdowns.

****From 2014-18, Roethlisberger averaged 4,418 yards passing and 30 total touchdowns. With his new and improved elbow (via surgery), Ben Ben might have another two or three seasons of high-level passing in the Steelers’ aggressive offense.

Speaking of Big Ben …

****Charting his last 20 November/December home games at Heinz Field, dating back to 2014, Roethlisberger boasts supreme averages of 329 yards passing and 2.7 touchdowns. Damn!

The Panthers feature a fantastic front four of tailback Christian McCaffrey (NFL single-season record 116 catches last year), receiver DJ Moore (87 catches, 1,175 yards, 4 TDs), Robby Anderson and Curtis Samuel (underrated targets machine).

Translation: Good luck finding a bottom-third quarterback with similarly stellar playmakers in the final rounds.

Here’s another reason to prioritize Bridgewater in the final round:

Assistant coach Joe Brady, who led LSU’s offense to the most prolific numbers in college football history last season (coinciding with a national championship), takes over the play-calling reins in Carolina; and as luck would have it, Bridgewater already has experience with Brady’s relentless vertical thinking — since they were both with the Saints in 2018.